FANCY SOME MINIMAL house? Or how about a little liquid funk? Electronic dance music has splintered into a ridiculous number of genres and subgenres, and deciding on the soundtrack to a night out clubbing can be a confusing choice when scanning the weekend gig listings. Most of the main movements in dance music are well represented in Hong Kong, but people with only a passing interest in the sound could be forgiven for not exploring it too deeply because of the confusing terminology and sometimes snobby nature of the scene. With this in mind, we present the Post's guide to electronic music in Hong Kong. In music, tempo or speed is measured in beats per minute (BPM) - for comparison, the BPM of the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction is a relatively brisk 136. HOUSE What is it? The most soulful genre of dance music. Best described as a descendent of disco, house is based on an irresistible 4/4 beat, used as the foundation for any number of styles, from jazzy and funky through to gritty and nasty. From Donna Summer's I Feel Love in 1977 the sound has undergone an amazing evolution and still provides the soundtrack for venues from cocktail bars to massive dance events. Tempo: usually 120 BPM to 135 BPM. Where did it start? Early 1980s in Chicago, and later that decade in Britain. What are the subgenres? Tech house (combination of techno and house), progressive (heavily layered), electro house (electro influences), tribal house (percussive heavy), minimal house (stripped down), tech funk (breakbeat mixed with house), hard house (high-energy). Recommended listening: Compilations on the Defected, Global Underground and Hed Kandi labels. Where can I hear it in Hong Kong? Everywhere, mainly Drop, Kee, Dragon-i, one-fifth, Volar, Nu, Yumla. BREAKBEAT What? One of the funkier, more upbeat families of dance music defined by the used of a syncopated beat emphasising the snare drum. A 'breakbeat' originally referred to the instrumental or percussion sections of 70s funk numbers, and when these were sampled and looped together a whole new sound was born. This uptempo beat is now the foundation of an entire genre, from the 70s groove of funky breaks to the darker, distorted bass of nu-skool breaks. Due to the irregular nature of the beat, some complain it's hard to dance to. Tempo: 120 BPM to 140 BPM. Where did it start? Early 90s in Britain. Recommended: The Y4K compilation series, Elite Force, the Plump DJs and other artists on the Finger Lickin' label. Subgenres: Nu-school breaks (dark, heavy), funky breaks, electro breaks, progressive breaks. Where can I hear it? Joint 15, Tribeca, Gossip 17, Yumla, Volar, The Hood. ELECTRO What? A sound pioneered by early hip-hop producers bringing in electronic influences mainly from German robot men Kraftwerk. Electro has always been obsessed with the merger of man and machine, and was the first movement to replace all traditional instruments with their electronic equivalents. Typified by the use of robotic vocals and heavily synthesised beats, electro reached its first peak in the 80s with the likes of jazzman Herbie Hancock's Rockit single, along with releases from Gary Numan and Arthur Baker. It's now enjoying a resurgence through the wave of electro house - a stripped-down, bass heavy version of traditional house with a glitchy, robotic edge. Tempo: 110 BPM to 140 BPM. Where did it start? New York in 1982, with the release of Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force. Recommended: Anthony Rother, compilations on the Get Physical and International Deejay Gigolos labels. Subgenres: Electro funk (traditional funk template played electronically), electro breaks, electro house, electroclash (with punk influences). Where can I hear it? Regular Friday nights with international guests at Volar, Yumla, Kee, one-fifth. TECHNO What? A direct offshoot of house with a colder, more robotic edge. When house music took a more commercial turn, a handful of mainly Detroit-based producers reacted by focusing on the inherent mechanisation of the sound. Out were the disco and soul influences, and in was a more futuristic, clinical approach. Recently, the techno trend has been towards a more minimal sound that involves a simple beat with a repetition of short loops and subtle changes. Where did it start? Detroit in the mid-80s. Recommended: Richie Hawtin, Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke, Juan Atkins. Subgenres: Tech house (house influences), minimal, acid techno (gritty, psychedelic), hard techno, ambient techno (mellow). Where? The monthly Clockenflap events presented by the Robot crew at Quarter, plus Yumla. DRUM 'N' BASS What? The fastest, most in-your-face style of dance music. During the early days of rave, a splinter group of the breakbeat movement sped up the beats big time, brought in reggae basslines and re-introduced the live MC on vocals, giving birth to so-called 'jungle music'. Since producers started adopting a wider range of influences such as jazz and Latino sounds, the drum'n'bass tag has been applied to this high-speed music based around primal African rhythms and deep Jamaican basslines. A truly global movement that can either soothe the ears or destroy the eardrums. Tempo: 160 BPM to 180 BPM Where did it start? Britain in the mid-90s Recommended: DJ Hype, compilations on Good Lookin' Records, Roni Size, Aphrodite. Subgenres: jump-up (highly energetic, funky), liquid funk (latin, jazz influences), darkcore (evil, low-frequency basslines), techstep (techno influences). Where? Magnetic Soul crew's monthly events at the Vodka Bar, Red Label events at Yumla, plus Quarter and Chapter 3. TRANCE What? Emotional and hypnotic. Probably the most 'ravey' of dance music, trance is designed to put listener into a trance-like state through its repetitive beats and throbbing melodies, leading to accusations that it's purely drug music. You've seen the footage of cartoony ravers with their hands in the air waving glowsticks? That's trance they're listening to. Where did it start? As an offshoot of techno in German clubs in the early 1990s, and later evolved into its psychedelic form on the beaches of Goa, India. Subgenres: Tech trance (with techno influences), psy trance (psychedelic, eastern-influenced), hard trance (even faster than usual). Recommended: Tiesto's ISOS series, Ferry Corsten, Paul Van Dyk's Politics of Dancing series. Where? The sound is on the wane, so there's no monthly events. But international trance DJs regularly appear at Gossip 17, Edge and Grappa's Cellar.